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Today we have a chance to review a USB flash drive from Super Talent with latest USB technology; USB 3.0 which was released in year 2008. Of course the fanciest feature of USB 3.0 is the speed; 4.8 Gbps which is 10x faster than the USB 2.0 in theoretically. Without further delay, let's go through this device in-depth and see whether it is a right moment switching to USB 3.0 devices.
Super Talent Technology Corporation, headquartered in San Jose, California, designs and manufactures a full range of memory modules and Flash based storage solutions for Enterprise till Consumer Electronics. An ISO 9001 certified company, Super Talent utilizes its state-of-the art factory and leading-edge components to produce award winning products with exceptional performance and outstanding reliability.
iMirco Electronics Limited is a world-class and professional manufacturer in the computer industry, aiming at providing the latest technological products to the world. It boasts about 20+ years' experience in IT field and was set up by our parent company in Silicon Valley, USA. iMirco Electronics Limited has established a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant which equipped with advanced production machines in ShenZhen to support the large production.
- Full compatibility with USB 3.0 and 2.0
- Transfer speeds up to 125MB/sec in USB 3.0
- Hot plug and play; Functions like another hard drive
- Slim and sleek casing style
- HighSpeed Drivers Compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7 (both 32&64 bit)
- LED indicates power, busy
- More than 10 years data retention
- 5 years warranty
Package & Contents
(Updated on 21/10/2010) Thanks to Super Talent for providing the exact packaging photo for us as our sample is just the naked drive. Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 comes with 5 years warranty where the warranty was upgraded from 2 years after reviewed the suggestion from other reviewing media partners; wise move.
A Closer Look on Super Talent Express Drive 3.0
USB 2.0 connectivity has been widely used since it was released in year 2000 but there are quite number of peripherals are still being operated with USB 1.0 especially those cheap, low quality products or made by unknown manufacturers; this is one of the reasons why sometime you will find that the device is underperform. Anyway in order to fully utilise the USB 3.0 speed, you must have a system which can support USB 3.0 or get a USB 3.0 adapter if you are not going to empty your pocket but still would like to enjoy the SuperSpeed of USB 3.0. Most of the motherboards are now equipped with USB 3.0 but we still find limitation on laptops which could be due to couple of reasons; cost, space as well as demand.
Super Talent is named as iMicro in Taiwan so don't get confused if you find Super Talent products are being promoted or sold by iMicro in some regions. The major business of Super Talent is the consumer storage product such as computer memory, USB flash drive, SSD and so on. Some of the significant USB flash products by Super Talent are the RAIDDrive, SuperCrypt, and Express RAM Cache which makes them outstanding and leading in the market.
Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 is available with two capacities at this moment; 16GB and 32GB. Unlike other USB 2.0 flash drive Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 is not as tiny/slim as others but its thickness should not create any compatible issue but have to be aware of its depth as it can block the usable USB port side by side in vertical way; 62 x 27 x 7.5mm. Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 comes with black solid plastic housing while the silver version is the Express RAM Cache version; identical physical design.
The maximum transfer speed of Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 is up to 125MBps which is ~ 25% of the USB 3.0 ideal throughput; 4.8Gbps or 600MBps. This is expected since it happens on USB 2.0 devices as well and more important is Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 is around 6x faster than normal USB 2.0 flash drive; incredible speed right? No worries if you are still having system with USB2.0 as Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 is fully backward compatible with any USB 2.0 port but the speed will be downgraded.
One simple way to identify USB 3.0 device is the blue connector if you play attention on it and it will be black colour for USB 2.0 device. Besides the color of the connector, basically the most effective way to distinguish them is the pins as USB3.0 is having 9-pin while 4-pin for USB2.0. (Pictures are taken from interfacebus and Wikipedia)
Installation, Testing & Performance
As usual Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 doesn't require any driver or software installation since it is a plug and play device. We get an EliteBook 8540p from our partner to test out the Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 as we are still looking for a suitable model to replace our existing laptop in order to enjoy the SuperSpeed of USB 3.0.
Super Talent has included the TurboHDD USB software to boost up the performance of the Express Drive 3.0 and the software is stored inside the USB itself. For the first time installation, it will require user to unplug and reconnect to the system; no reboot is required. In Turbo mode, the read/write performance will be increased around 30 - 45% by just the single click. This is really amazing and we will pay attention in the future to see whether other makers are providing such powerful software tool or not.
Notebook: HP EliteBook 8540p
Processor: Intel i5-520M @ 2.40GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM
Display: 15.6" diagonal LED-backlit HD anti-glare
Graphic Card: NVIDIA NVS5100M 1GB DDR3
Optical Drive: DVD+/-RW Double Layer SuperMulti Drive
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: Arctic Sound P311
Operating System: Window XP Pro SP3/Win 7 Pro
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
The maximum read and write speeds for most of the performance USB 2.0 flash drive are about 25 to 33MB/s and ~ 6.4MB/s but with Super Talent Express Drive 3.0, it can achieve up to 130MB/s and 43MB/s for the read and write speeds in USB 3.0 mode. These results are really promising and incredible where you get additional 4 - 7x faster speed than USB 2.0 flash drive that you have been using it all the while.
In Turbo mode, we have verified that Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 can achieve much faster speed and it looks like effortless for us as the performance can be boosted up by a single click. Besides the USB 3.0 test, we also tested Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 on USB 2.0 system and Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 is still able to outshine the rest of the competitors although its speeds are highly reduced in this test. However Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 can be heated up badly so it is better to use it in a better air circulation environment.
Do you still have doubt whether you should get a USB3.0 flash drive or stick with your USB 2.0 flash drive? Frankly to say there is no absolute answer however if you foresee you will get betting yourself a new system anytime soon; within 1-2 years then getting a USB 3.0 flash drive is not a bad move. Furthermore Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 is being sold at similar price as other branded USB 2.0 flash drives so why not get a latest product and wait for the right moment to unleash its full potential. Overall we are very satisfied with Super Talent Express Drive 3.0 but we are more interested with their RAIDDrive USB 3.0 or maybe Express RAM Cache since these are unique products in the market.
+ Incredible read & write speeds
+ Great price
+ Light weight
+ Solid dongle housing
+ 5 years warranty
- The dongle is a bit over-heated during full load
LCTECH Sdn Bhd,
No. 126G-126M, Off Jalan Gombak,
Taman Seri Setapak,
53000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 603-4023 5211
Thanks to Super Talent & iMirco for providing this sample for us to review.
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